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Re: Suggestions for DSLR Rig on Rails for ENG Work with Pre-Amp and Zoom?

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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Suggestions for DSLR Rig on Rails for ENG Work with Pre-Amp and Zoom?
on Apr 25, 2012 at 3:20:37 pm

Steve -

Let me preface this by saying that I'm a cheapskate, but there's a certain level of quality which I won't go below if it affects getting the job done properly.

That said, I did a lot of homework when I first bought my T2i, on the name rigs, and decided that since these setups are essentially an erector set, I could buy and configure my own setup just as well (and way cheaper) than I could buy a custom configured set of parts.

I ended up with a Fotga DP500 system - I purchased the rail rod quick release system first, and then their follow focus system - here's a link to the components - I bought mine direct from Hong Kong on *bay from Fotocola:

If you're going to be swapping out from tripod to other support systems, you can purchase the quick release as a separate item, so you have a couple of them - I haven't found that the QR is compatible with other QR systems (I haven't checked), but everything is solid and well machined. The follow focus is the standard .8 gearing, so if you don't like the rubber gear that's the "one size fits all" approach, you can go with the Nine Inch Rails version of the zip tie gearing or something else. Everything on the system which should be standard is standard, right down to the opening on the follow focus which will take a standard cinema whip handle insert.

I also purchased several compatible items from, also in China, and found that, although their shipping seemed pricy, the arrival was blazing fast, and from China. I bought their hand grips, and a few mounting accessories, such as multiple 1/4 20 15mm rail rod clamps for attaching articulating arms and such - once you buy a few items for the low price, the shipping isn't as painful.

As I said - I'm the type who wants to configure his own system for the best price - this may or may not work for you, but look at the options - what I purchased total came in at well under 400 dollars, and the build quality was/is excellent - the shipping from Fotocola took a few weeks, but for the savings, it was well worth it. There are some reviews of the Fotga DP500 system on, but they are for the most part, when it first came out - the follow focus has been improved since the first design. Good luck.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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